Anthropology, Department of


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Biographical Memoirs, National Academy of Sciences

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Napoleon A. Chagnon (August 27, 1938–September 21, 2019), elected to the National Academy of Science in 2012. A Biographical Memoir by Raymond B. Hames, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Chagnon was a Renaissance anthropologist who made numerous fundamental contributions to anthropology. His films and ethnography have been viewed by millions around the world. He combined a humanistic eye in research with an unwavering scientific approach to human culture and behavior. He set multiple standards for long-term field research in terms of methodological rigor and refinement. He made some of the first tests of inclusive fitness theory in human behavior. And he was a major force in the institutional establishment of evolutionary approaches in anthropology as well as the rest of the social sciences.